Physical activity acts in maintaining a healthy weight, lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and lessening arterial stiffening. These are all effects of improved health. It also increases good HDL cholesterol, which gets fats away from the arteries, and it may reduce levels of bad LDL cholesterol, which forms these fatty deposits – harmful for the cardiovascular system.
The best exercise for your heart is aerobic activity. It strengthens heart and lung muscles, burns calories reducing fat deposits, and improves the immune system. Examples of aerobic exercises are walking, running, swimming, dancing, spinning, hiking, riding a bike, among many others. You just have to find one you will enjoy.
The amount of physical exercise recommended by the American Heart Association is 150 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity every week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic physical activity, or a combination of both. Also, on 2 or more days a week you need muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest shoulders, and arms).
Here are some exercise tips by the American Heart Association for elderly people:
- Work with your health care provider to develop an activity plan to consider chronic conditions, limitations, and reducing the risk of falls.
- Pick activities that you enjoy and that you will do year-round.
- Start exercising at a low intensity(especially if you’ve been mostly sedentary), and progress gradually.
- Make sure the environment you practice your physical activity is safe – does not intersect with traffic, and is well-lighted.
- Muscular adaptation and elasticity generally slows with age,so take more time to warm up and cool down before and after exercising.
- Stay hydrated by trying to drink some water every 15 minutes, especially when exercising in hot, humid conditions. As you age, your sense of thirst tends to decrease and you may not be able to completely rely on your internal sense of thirst.